American Culture

If we attack Iran, you could lose your job

unemployment.gifIt beggars belief. Polls show the president’s support at less than 30 percent nationally — in not one single state does even 50 percent approve of him. Yet he retains enough of his beloved “political capital” to plan an attack on another country for reasons other than defensive.

Bush was expected to be a lame duck president by this point. But the Democratic congress has seen to it that he’s been fitted with a prosthetic wing.

In part, that’s because the prospect of thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands Iranians killed isn’t enough to inspire the American public to voice its opposition to attacking Iran. But maybe the prospect of a like number of Americans losing their jobs because of an attack on Iran will.

Here’s how to explain it to family and friends who either don’t believe Bush & Co. would be crazy enough to launch another capricious war or don’t care.

Oil is already approaching $100 a barrel. Now imagine that price doubled — not in a decade, but overnight. That scenario is considered likely if Iran attacks or blockades oil shipping in the Persian Gulf. Also bear in mind it contains the world’s largest offshore oil field, which would be equally vulnerable to disruption.

Now imagine your home-heating bill and the price you pay at the gas pump reflecting the post-attack price of a barrel of oil. Then envision your employer experiencing the same alarm, but amplified by the size of his facilities, as well as transportation costs.

Now imagine him facing up to his inability to pay his fuel bills. Next, see bossman downsize or shut his doors.

Never mind trying to appeal to a dormant altruistic streak in Americans. Heck, we can’t even get worked up about the likelihood that our own soldiers in Iraq would suffer blowback for an attack on Iran.

Americans need to be made to understand that, before we know what hit us, one out of say, seven of us may wind up unemployed and unable to support our families.

Once aware, Americans might be more willing to call their congress members and inform them of their opposition to an attack on Iran. For those who don’t know their representatives or senators’ numbers (okay, or even their names) send them to

Of course, some believe Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons or that it’s supplying Iraq with the latest in IEDs. To them, disabling a supposed foe may be worth the risk of losing their livelihoods. More power to them.

27 replies »

  1. I’m working on a crazy hypothesis these days, Russ. It says that Bush doesn’t really plan to attack Iran – he’s just saber rattling to spike gas prices and make another shit load of $$$$ for his oil company cronies before the Dems come in and we get serious about alternate fuels, carbon creation reduction, etc. I’m actually looking for some sources on this.

    Of course he could just be the evangelical megalomaniac he seems to be working as hard as he can to bring down Armageddon on us all.

    Either explanation just seems plain evil, doesn’t it?

  2. I can’t imagine oil doubling overnite to $190/bbl, basis the December contract at the NYMEX. That would be like winning the lottery for me. I’ve been bullish on oil for three years, and have been long the nearby futures contract….rolling over at expiration since 2005. Look at the oil chart, a person with an IQ of 60 could tell that it’s going up, and it’s had strong bullish signals for the past four years. That’s just the technical side, the fundamentals are extremely bullish also. The only downside to the upside with the oil chart is that there’s a few gaps well below the market in the $35.00, $54.00, and $78.00 range that need to be filled. The crack spread is also pretty bullish and is a good buy at these levels. If I wasn’t already in the market I’d buy NYMEX oil right now, with an $8.00 stop, as the question isn’t if it will cross $100, but when. Analyzing the oil chart, if it closes above $100, the next resistance point is at $117.80. There’s just so much hedge fund money pouring into the oil futures markets right now. I will add a caveat…..if oil doesn’t break $100 within the next two months, it will be ripe for shorting using options to protect your position.

    Oil made it’s real high in 1980, if you factor in inflation. The price adjusted for todays dollars would be around $120/bbl. In 1986 or 1987, oil traded at $9.99 per barrel on an intraday low. Only one contract traded at that price, and I’m proud to say that I was the fool who sold the oil market short at the lowest price. I bought back the contract the next day when I knew I was wrong and took a $0.40/bbl loss. Oh well, you win some trades and you lose some. Just hope you net more winnings than losses.

    A catalytic market event like this(oil doubling) would put me out of business with a smile on my face…..I’d probably spend the rest of my life sipping Dom Perignon somewhere on the Champs-Elysees.

  3. @jeff

    Good for you, and if you earn all this money from the futures market, with the USD going to hell in a handbag, you won’t be sipping anything but gutter water with the rest of us.

  4. I can’t understand the prospect of even considering starting another war given the lack of evidence and true circumstances over the war in Iraq, let alone the lack of troops and military hardware to accomplish such an evil objective. If the US went to war with Iran I have to say that the US was trying to commit suicide and take the rest of the world with it. I can’t even fathom the American People’s credulity over the Administration’s pronouncements on Iran. I can’t understand Sarkozy siding with Bush on this either. Aren’t there any sane people in Congress?

  5. Jim,

    Whether or not Bush & Co. plan to attack Iran for real, it’s always best to assume they’ll do the wrong thing.


    Thinks for the lowdown on the oil markets. I’m glad that you’re prescient enough to prosper. The downside is that you’ll be living in a miserable world. Still, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you provided for you and your family.

  6. My brother, a military guy, says Bush will not attack Iran. There are too many soldiers and officers against the invasion. According to him the Army is just too beat up for such shenanigans. He was somewhat concerned about all the religious whack-jobs in the Air Force but claims enough secular airmen will just tell Bush to go fuck himself. Plus the Army doesn’t want a draft (which, co-incidently, is why they’re accepting all kinds of recruits they would have blown off five years ago). They don’t want thousands of soldiers who don’t want to fight. As my brother said, “At least the Army learned something from Vietnam, John McCain notwithstanding.” He also told me many military types now hold Bush, Cheney and their draft-dodging buddies in utter contempt, probably a larger majority than the idiot citizens who want to bomb Iran in the first place.
    In toto — you can’t fight a war with an army that won’t fight.
    Lets hope.

  7. Of course, doubled fuel prices (seems unlikely, but that’s the premise) would ripple through the economy. Not only might you lose your job, but the price of virtually every commodity would increase substantially, including food prices (food is transported to market by fuel-burning machines). So, it could be a double whammy for you. Little money to buy things that cost a lot more than they used to.

    But, then, increased prices are why you lost your job in the first place. If consumers won’t buy at a price that brings profit, businesses fail. And energy, for most businesses, is a fairly inelastic demand item. You can’t make things without energy, and you can’t easily cut back on the energy you use without also cutting production.

  8. Remember the Boston Massacre? What an outrage. The British supposedly killed 5 innocent people. Why, we got to have a revolution over that. Now Bush can kill 5 Americans and 500 non-Americans every day and we just keep spending the freedom our forefathers purchased for us as though tomorrow will never come.

  9. “…enough secular airmen will just tell Bush to go fuck himself.”

    Really? Mutiny? Refuse to obey a lawful order? Really? Somehow, I don’t see the video-game trained and FOX-watching US military doing that.

    Yes, ONE or TWO loyal Americans did report that nuclear weapons were being illegally transported over US soil, but most of the soldiers involved in the nuke transport just followed their orders and did their jobs and assumed that somebody else would take the rap.

    When the time comes for bombing the 3000 targets in Iran (many of which are NOT military) there will be plenty of USAF personnel to make it happen.

    The neo-con Rethuglicans think this will be an “air war” and that by simply throwing some “shock and awe too” at Iran they will change the dynamic of the middle east and solidify (???) our position there.

    In a way, as usual, they are totally correct. Our position (total quagmire and universally hated by the locals) WILL be fully solidified after an unprovoked attack on Iran. Our economy will be destroyed, our world-wide reputation tattered, and our troops around the world put in danger. BUT, on the plus side, each and every oil company and Jeff (#8084 above) will get quite rich.

  10. See Frank Rich’s Sunday column in the NY Times. Could all the saber rattling just be a set up job against Hillary, the Republican nominee of choice?

    Consider. They invade, the Republicans lose the election for sure. On the other hand, if they saber rattle enough, Hillary will, as they say, “triangulate”. She’ll come down firmly on both sides of the issue, and it will be 2004, “flip flopper” all over again. Net result: President Giuliani.

    It is significant, as Rich pointed out, that neither Edwards nor Obama is falling for it. Hillary has already.

  11. Their whole goal is to create violent anarchy here in the U.S. so they can proclaim marshal law. Then the Blackwater blackshirt killa thugs will start to patrol the streets.

    Bush, dick Cheney and most members of Congress have mutinied against WE THE PEOPLE and they are committing treason against the U.S. Constitution.

    It is time for Republican and Democratic voters to join forces and march peaceably on Washington, D.C. We need to assemble and stay assembled until everyone in the White House resigns.

    Then we need to stay assembled a little longer until President Pelosi orders the Pentagon to start bringing the troops home where they belong.

  12. Myke said:
    “Good for you, and if you earn all this money from the futures market, with the USD going to hell in a handbag, you won’t be sipping anything but gutter water with the rest of us.”

    Actually, the USD going to hell in a handbag isn’t such a bad thing. It helps our exports, balance of trade, and provides jobs. Of course, the downside is that we’re at risk to our creditors who could theoretically bail. However, the US is such an integral part of the world’s economy that we’re “Too big to fail.” The central banks won’t allow it. Anyways, with the bearish consensus of the USD being nearly 100%, I’m starting to look at the USD from a contrarian standpoint. The countries that use the Euro aren’t doing that well themselves. There are underlying factors that make the Euro and Yen pretty scary currencies in themselves. Most people get rich while buying when everyone is selling, and selling when everyone is buying. The big dollar sell off is partially caused by the madness of herds, which is a good thing. The USA is still very structurally sound, people go to work, pay their bills, and we have property rights. As long as people will accept dollars, I’m cool with that. I’m also cool if they want to accept wheat, gold or any other medium of exchange. If it moves, I want a crack at trading it. As it is, since I’m long gold and oil, I’m pretty much shorting the dollar. I’d rather play the market from the short side anyways, as prices fall much quicker than they go up. The only risk on any side of the markets is getting nailed, which happens to me about 40% of the time. I try to cut my losses as quickly as they occur, and let my profits run.

    Making more money than you started out with is never a bad thing. Even if the dollar is slipping, we still have to pay our bills in the USA in dollars, and if I have more of them at the end of the day, I still win.

    Russ made an interesting comment when he said:

    “Thinks for the lowdown on the oil markets. I’m glad that you’re prescient enough to prosper. The downside is that you’ll be living in a miserable world. Still, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you provided for you and your family.”

    I hope I do prosper in the markets. Even if the world becomes miserable, I think I’ll be better equipped to handle it, and the ability to trade helps. I owe it to myself and my family to earn as much money as possible, and provide as good of life for my family as possible. I have another pressing need to make as much cash as possible. My kid goes to Yale, and I’m paying the full price with no assistance. He did the prep school thing before college, and that nut was around $40K per year. I have about $200K invested in him out of my pocket, and I would like for him to finish, and me to maximize my investment in him. I do this out of love. Ivy schools require a lot of cash, but considered from a business standpoint, it is a very sound decision.

    News affects markets, and the average person has the ability to make money off of change. One just has to be farsighted enough to use common sense. If you read that there’s only 51 pounds of wheat per person stockpiled until the next harvest, it’s time to buy wheat. If you find that Countrywide is probably not going to make it, it’s time to short that stock. If you see that gasoline keeps going up with no end in sight, it might be time to buy gasoline. My sage of a grandfather, who lived to the ripe old age of 104, told me that the trend is your friend. He also told me to look at a stock or commodity chart and draw a line with a ruler to best fit the chart pattern. If the ruler was pointing up, that was an indication that the market was headed up, and vice versa. Very simple to the point advice, but he died with enough cash to probably pay off the national debt of Bolivia. He also followed his own advice.

    I’ve probably bored you enough for now.


  13. [ # 8084 ] Comment from jeff [November 6, 2007, 7:41 pm]
    Jeff needs to remember that he is talking about shuffling paper back and forth, not reality. I expect him to do OK. Scum always rises to the top.

    I suspect when ~20% of world oil production stops flowing through Strait of Hormuz, prices could not just double but quadruple. The sinking of the second tanker will end shipping for months or years.

    Will it be worthwhile to fill up your gas tank to drive to work?

    Post WWI hyperinflation, freikorps Germany will look good.

  14. Yes, Jeff and a few others will get rich, but when this financial house of cards that their greed has created comes tumbling down, they will be facing a hell of a lot of people full of rage with nothing to lose who will be looking to take the pig class down the toilet with them. So Jeff and his kind shouldn’t be feeling too smug or too secure.

  15. Shorthand Myke: “Who gives a shit if thousands die millions more suffer, as long as I get mine its fine with me.”
    Thanks Myke for showing the world what a true American Conservative is made of. I suspect your a good Christian as well.

  16. An excellent assesment in my humble opinion, except for one missing realization. When the price of oil doubles (or worse) it will be the small independent businesses that are the first to go under. The mega corporations will manage to weather the storm and grow even larger. What an effective way to further destroy the already disappearing “middle class”, and further the divide between the obnoxiously rich and the rest of us.

    PS. To Jeff et al,
    If you haven’t already, run to your stock broker and have him also buy as many stocks in companies providing the military it’s tools of death. That’s a “bulls*it” market too. Just think of all the money you’ll make you soulless sob… One question, does having a big pile of money that’s been made off the suffering of others make it easier to sleep? I wouldn’t know myself (and never want to find out).

  17. Tom Baxter said:

    “Jeff needs to remember that he is talking about shuffling paper back and forth, not reality. I expect him to do OK. Scum always rises to the top.”

    First of all, that personal attack on me wasn’t very mature, but if you feel the need to classify me as scum, that’s well within your rights. That “shuffling paper not being reality,” comment just exposed the fact that you don’t have a clue about how the world works. Shuffling paper, as you call it, is the engine of liquidity in the economy. That “shuffling paper” evens out the seasonal variations of commodities and makes the price of a loaf of bread stay the same. That “shuffling paper” ensures that a farmer will be able to get a stable price for his crops at harvest time, and not get punished because all of the crops are coming in at the same time. “Shuffling paper” ensures that the average person can get a mortgage without a call provision.

    Putting myself at risk every time I put on a trade is a noble cause, and if I’m right, I deserve every dollar I make for being right.

    As for being a pig….I’ve been called a lot worse, so that doesn’t bother me. However, at least I have the farsight to see that the world might be unstable and am doing something to to protect my family. Since I am proactive, I guess that I should expect to take a few shots from a few people who might be allowing themselves to be victims, and expect someone else to take care of them. Nobody’s going to take care of you except yourself.

  18. Wow! I know there are people who think like Jeff, but I’ve never read anything so blatently “me first and who cares what happens to anyone else” outside of the rightwing horrorshow stars like Ann Coulter or Rush. He didn’t “bore” me – he horrified me with his lack of empathy and greed.

    We are all in this together. Not just the earth and its inhabitants, but the economy, the structures of justice, and the functioning of governments, contribute to the whole. The more positive the behavior of each person, the more positive the entirety. Individuals who act like their own well-being (and that of those who are close to them) is the only thing that matters are destructive forces. Jeff might smugly believe his quest for wealth is positive, but in reality, his gains feed off other human beings and the finite resources of the earth. His way of life is unsustainable over time.

    No matter how financially secure people like Jeff may be in the short run – and perhaps even in their own lifetimes – they contribute bad energy to the world. One can only hope that the forces of good generated by others who believe in and work toward the collective welfare of the entire planet rather than individual prosperity will prevail. Otherwise, eventually, everyone is punished for the insensitivity, selfishness, and ego-centricity of the few.

  19. You know, I’ve seen about as many bullshit personal assaults on Jeff as I’m going to put up with here. There’s nothing wrong with business and there’s nothing wrong with playing the cards you’re dealt. Do I like the underlying dynamics that make some of what he’s able to do possible, no, but in the absence of ANY PLAUSIBLE FUCKING HOPE of mass corrective action do you think I have a right to look after myself and my family? Bet your sweet ass.

    I hate to abandon ship, but point to the political party in the US that’s on the verge of making things right and then get back to me. In the meantime, this is not a forum for personal attacks against people who are doing the best they can to provide for their families.

  20. Wow…Thanks Rr.Slammy for the understanding. I want to say that I don’t mind the personal attacks, and I really enjoy the writing and comments from the readers, personal attacks aside. Although I’m a Conservative, I derive none of my ideas from the right wing press. I don’t read The American Spectator, I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh. I read the same liberal opinion magazines that most you read, and possibly more. I enjoy reading some well thought-out articles, and find S&R has more than it’s share. I was introduced to S&R from a couple of my friends over on Livejournal. Although I vehemently disagree politically with what they might say over there (and I let them know it), they’re really nice, bright, stand-up guys….and I like them. Life’s too short to get all wrapped up in politics. I certainly don’t let a little thing like politics get in the way of friendship. I understand that people disagree, but I have feelings, too. I’m very human in every which way.

    If you want to check out a brief synopsis of who and what I am, and why I’m not such a hideous creature, you can go over to my profile over at Livejournal. I keep my journal private as it’s my only form of online communication aside from commenting in S&R, a couple of surfing forums, and general e-mail.


  21. Well said, Sam. Jeff has been honest in his explanations and gracious in the face of insults that seem to arise mostly from ignorance of how business works. He didn’t create this system – and its attendant mess – he’s simply trying to survive in it – as we all are.

    I know Jeff (this is called fair disclosure – a practice apparently unknown to some commenters) and he’s a good, decent man who works hard to take care of himself and his family. He happens to be a trader himself (which anyone but a bonehead could have seen from his knowledgeable explanations of the market). The fact that he works with stocks and is a trader makes him a decent, hard working American. He studied and worked hard to gain his position.

    I studied and worked hard to gain mine – I was once a touring rock musician and am now a professor in a large state university (for both professions I’ve been well paid in my time). Does this make me a frivolous leech on society (as an artist/entertainer) or a smug, state supported pontificator (as a professor)? In some peoples’ eyes perhaps. But that doesn’t change the fact that I can play music with the best professionals and hold my own or that I help students gain keys to professional and personal success by my teaching. I’m simply an accomplished person in my chosen profession(s) – just as Jeff is. That demands respect. Not personal attack.

    How about showing some respect for diversity of viewpoint? That would be the American way. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

  22. Thanks, everybody, for your comments.

    Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your profile on the Web (and the chance to see what you look like). Please come back.

  23. See, though, once you get people calling Washington, calling their Senators and Representatives night and day, faxing, emailing, letters, etc., you’ll subsequently get a shutdown or scaling back of the phone system at the Capitol. You’ll find yourself continually unable to get through.

    It will break down. Funding for the switchboard will be cut. People will be encouraged to contact the government using approved “liaisons,” another word for commissars. The government will contract out the services (call them Remembrance Portals).

    Same thing with the Internet: your “contact your Rep” page won’t work anymore. You’ll submit a tech-support request that of course won’t be answered. It will be attributed to “heavy traffic.” Can’t be helped, nobody’s fault, we’re doing the best we can, no one else you can talk to.

    And paper letters? Forget it.

    You can shout and scream louder and louder; they’ll build better insulation against it. You can protest in the streets. We know how that goes.

  24. I don’t think many people understand just how risky commodities trading can be and just how NECESSARY it is for managing business risks.

    Sorry you got attacked, Jeff. I appreciated your insights.